True religion is repeatedly described in the Scriptures as producing joy and fulfillment (Isaiah 12:3; 52:9; 61:3, 7; 65:14, 18; John 16:22, 24; Acts 13:52; Romans 14:17; Galatians 5:22; 1 Peter 1:8). Believers should delight in the hope of God’s glory. While the worldly people rejoice in their own accomplishments (Romans 2:17), believers should rejoice in what God can do in their lives. For “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Rejoicing in God’s justification
The joyful and victorious faith of Paul’s opposed the belief of those who think that “faith” implies that believers must continually be in a state of worry and uncertainty regarding their justification. But God wants His children to know whether they have been accepted by Him, so that they may actually have the peace that comes from such an experience. For “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).
Also, the apostle John affirms that believers can know that they have passed from death unto life. “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death” (1 John 3:14). Faith does not mean only believing that God can forgive and restore His children. It means that God, through Christ, has not only pardoned the faithful but that He has created a new heart within them (Ephesians 4:24).
The difference between present and future salvation
This, of course, does not mean that once believers have been cleansed from sin, their future salvation is thus certain and there is no need for a daily connection to Christ through faith and obedience (John 15:4). A crucial difference must be made between guarantee of a present state of grace and guarantee of future salvation. The previous is implied in the meaning of true faith, the personal acceptance of Christ and all His benefits. And the latter is a hope that must be coupled with continual watchfulness unto prayer (Matthew 26:41).
Therefore, even though Christians have the joy and peace of justification, it is necessary that they be diligent to make their calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10). The likelihood of defeat was a powerful incentive to faithfulness and godliness even to the apostle Paul. For he disciplined himself, lest, having preached to others, he himself should be rejected (1 Corinthians 9:27). Thus, every Christian who may now be standing in grace and exulting in hope of the glory of God should also be watchful lest he fall (1 Corinthians 10:12).
In His service,